What is the future of Monster Studies? Where is the monster headed? And should we follow?
The monster is a creature of disruption and uncertainty, which means that such questions may perhaps best be approached through even more questions. Here follows some of the questions and suggestions raised by the participants at the closing panel of the Promises of Monsters international conference. Through the performance of The Blob as well as an open discussion, the closing panel opened up to the possible and not least impossible futures of monsters and Monster Studies.
For more on the subject of the futures of monsters, see Donna McCormack‘s The Future of Monster Studies and Asa Simon Mittman‘s The Impact of Monsters and Monster Studies.
Monster questions, comments and insights from the closing/opening panel at the Promises of Monsters Conference, April 2016
How will monster studies affect political change in the world, if at all?
Where are the monsters?
The Monster Network has a hand and a claw in this upcoming special issue of Women, Gender and Research that sets out to explore Nordic Monster Studies and the concept of the Nordic within international Monster Studies. The issue welcomes articles as well as artistic contributions.
Deadline for abstracts is 1st of September 2016.
Download PDF here.
Call for articles
Special issue of Women, Gender & Research:
Nordic Perspectives on Monsters and the Monstrous
“Monsters do a great deal of cultural work, but they do not do it nicely. They not only challenge and question; they trouble, they worry, they haunt. They break and tear and rend cultures, all the while constructing them and propping them up. They swallow up our cultural more and expectations, and then, becoming what they eat, they reflect back to us our own faces …” (2013: 1). These are the first words of art historian Asa Mittman’s introduction to The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous. The introduction presents the field of ‘Monster Studies’, which has been developing across academic disciplines since the 1990s, illustrating the productive force of monsters and the monstrous as analytical tools, norm critical notions, and destructive/creative practices. Fittingly, then, not all monster studies come from Monster Studies, and monsters can be encountered in a wide variety of contexts and a multitude of topics.
With the special issue ‘Monstrous Encounters: Nordic Perspectives on Monsters and the Monstrous’, we wish to put a focus on and explore both research and artistic practices related to the subject of monsters and the monstrous within a Nordic context. This means that we welcome both monster studies work from within the Nordic countries, and work that explores the monstrous in a Nordic context. Continue reading
It was a dark and stormy night and thunder crashed and the rain it roared and lightening flared across the sky. All across the country houses lay silent and dark, for the lights were out and the TV-sets dead and besides nobody wanted to draw attention to themselves. Better hold your breath and hope that lightning strikes someplace else, they thought. But not here. No, not at Promises of Monsters. Here we pulled switches and adjusted lightning rods and pushed buttons and cackled wildly as sparks flew and WordPress crashed and images uploaded and failed to upload and uploaded again and old posts were deleted and new words added and finally it was all ALIVE, IT WAS ALIVE! Or as alive as electronic media can be, which is to say not exactly alive-alive, if you know what we mean, but more sort of at least not dead. Undead, as they say.
What had been the corpse of the Promises of Monsters conference website raised itself from the slab, this time as the official Monster Network website. “Welcome!” it said. “I’ll tear you into a thousand pieces, drink your blood and wear your eyes like pearls!” it said. “Or maybe just appear in your newsfeed from time to time and, you know, say hi or something”, it added. “So welcome! Take a look around! Maybe you want to write something for the blog? Or a piece of fiction, a poem, an article or something completely different for the Monster Archive? If so, you can contact my unholy creators at promisesofmonsters [at] gmail [dot] com, but quickly before we chase each other across the Antarctic and lose the internet connection”.
So welcome to the Monster Network website! It sees you. It hears you. It knows where you live and it really likes your curtains.
The Blob. Performance by Anna Efraimsson and Tove Salmgren at the Promises of Monsters conference, April 2016.
Photo by Aino-Kaisa Koistinen.